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NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ The North Smithfield football team just keeps raising the bar in this breakout season.
The Northmen rolled to a 44-6 victory over Scituate on Wednesday night, an impressive outing that sets them up for next Tuesdayâ€™s Division IV playoff semifinal contest against Exeter/West Greenwich.
â€śWe wanted to finish the regular season on a roll,â€ť Northmen coach Wes Pennington admitted after Wednesdayâ€™s game ended. â€śAnd I think we did. Now we can finally focus on EWG.â€ť
The Northmen had little trouble with Scituate, a 1-8 team that played down to its record. North Smithfield hardly seemed concerned by the Spartans. On the opening drive of the game, Pennington told his offense to run the ball on fourth-and-one from its 29-yard line. Paris Correia ran for two yards and the first down.
Scituate did force a punt four downs later. That was the only time the N.S. offense failed to score in the first half.
On its second possession, North Smithfield needed two plays to cover 67 yards and reach the end zone. Halfback Peter Mancini ran 65 yards on a first-down reverse and then Correia finished the drive with a two-yard TD run.
The next time North Smithfield got the ball, Mancini caught a 15-yard pass on fourth-and-two from quarterback Tim Kennett to extend the drive. Kennett found his senior playmaker for 30 yards on the ensuing play, bringing the ball to Scituateâ€™s 17-yard line.
The Northmen went back to the reverse, giving the ball this time to wide receiver Nathan Lussier, who took it 16 yards to the one. Daniel Jordan ran it in for a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Scituate turned the ball over four plays later and North Smithfield again converted. Kennett hit wideout Jason Gormley for an 18-yard completion to the Scituate six-yard line. Alex Blanchette went untouched through the middle of Scituateâ€™s defense for the final touchdown of the first half.
North Smithfield turned the game into a rout in the third quarter, scoring twice. Correia ran 55 yards for a touchdown and Peter Mancini went 16 yards for his only TD, making it a 38-0 game after three quarters.
Gormley would tack on a 15-yard touchdown run in the final stanza.
Scituate scored on the final play of the game to avoid a total wipeout.
The Northmen, now 6-3 on the season, will make history on Tuesday night when they become the first football team in school history to compete in the postseason.
â€śThe 1982 team had an 8-2 record,â€ť Pennington said, â€śbut only two teams went to the playoffs that year.â€ť
This yearâ€™s team is well aware of its historic achievement. The coaching staff is prodding the Northmen to raise their sights even higher.
â€śOur seniors kicked the door in this year,â€ť Pennington said. â€śLast yearâ€™s team opened the door and now we have made the playoffs. This isnâ€™t just about one year. We are trying to build the foundation for a program that succeeds in the long run. The kids are excited about the playoffs and we really think we can beat EWG.â€ť
Game time Tuesday night is 7 p.m. at the Scarlet Knightsâ€™ home field.
Scituate 0 â€“ 0 â€“ 0 â€“ 6 â€“ 6
North Smithfield 8 â€“ 14 â€“ 16 â€“ 6 â€“ 44
NS â€“ Paris Correia 2 run (Peter Mancini run)
NS â€“ Daniel Jordan 1 run (run failed)
NS â€“ Alex Blanchette 6 run (Jordan run)
NS â€“ Paris Correia 55 run (Peter Mancini run)
NS â€“ Peter Mancini 16 run (Chris Mancini run)
NS â€“ Jason Gormley 15 run (pass failed)
SCIT â€“ Joe Notarantonio 3 run